“CH–CH. What’s missing? UR” (Quitman Church of Christ sign)

Hello all!

I hope everyone is happy and doing well!

This week started the first week of a new transfer! New transfer, new start. It always causes reflection on how we’ve done individually and as a companionship, especially because Sister Szilagyi and I have the opportunity to serve together in Valdosta for another transfer :)

This week we were thinking about how we would act as a missionary if Jesus Christ was our companion. Would we be a different missionary? Would we talk to more people? Be more bold? More confident? More diligent? If so, we need to change to be that missionary. This transfer, we are going to be Christ’s companion. Each week we are going to focus on one Christlike characteristic and strengthening our ability to have that characteristic trait. This week we are focusing on Love and Charity. We’ve already been able to serve multiple people, including breaking a neighbor into her apartment.

Elder Hunsicker has gotten a new companion now that Elder Christian has gone home, his name is Elder Konopasek. They are going to do great things.

This week our car has been in the shop being fixed from the Morven-pothole incident, so we’ve been able to walk around and contact people all over Valdosta! Luckily it’s been plenty sunny and warm :) And we live with some other sisters who can pick us up when we’re in the middle of the projects at9:00 at night with a 45 minute walk home. However, the car keys we handed over to the shop happened to have our house key on the ring, so when the other sisters aren’t home we had no way to open our door. Luckily, Elder Christian had shown us how to break into our apartment when we had locked ourselves out of our apartment one morning, so Sister Szilagyi and I have gotten pretty pro at opening our door without our key. Out of the life skills I thought I’d gain on a mission, breaking into an apartment within a minute was not one of them.

Sister Szilagyi and I have been working with a member’s nonmember husband. He’s from Massachusetts and makes me feel quite at home! He was supposed to be baptized a little while ago, but something happened where he decided against it and has been against the church ever since. Somehow he took a liking to Sister Szilagyi and I, and he has been very open and honest with us. Last Friday we brought him a talk, a talk a woman in Sister Szilagyi’s home ward sent her out of the blue. Sister Szilagyi read it and she immediately felt impressed that we needed to give it to him to read. I read it after her, and received the same prompting. So the next time we went over, we brought it and invited him to read it.

When we came over next, the first thing he did was sit us down, pull out the talk, and tell us that it was the best, most clear, and most concise talk he has ever read. He loved all of it and had no issue with it. He told us that he never thought he would ever even consider the church again, but that the door has been reopened. The Spirit, through us, was able to help him recognize the truth and power in the gospel and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He had thought that baptism was just for the statistics, just so he becomes a member, just so the missionaries ‘get a baptism’. But through the talk he was able to realize it was so much more. That baptism is the gate. That it is the first step you need to take to receive salvation, and we’re out teaching him and trying to help him understand so he can receive exaltation because we care about him and because he is a son of God. He finally understood our true purpose and the true reason for baptism. It was an amazingly powerful lesson.

IMG_1471Sister Szilagyi’s first experience with Waffle House! Apparently they are famous for their grits, so I tried them this last time. They’re pretty good! (Sorry about the awkwardly large hand…)

I love y’all!
Sister Waddoups

p.s. Here’s the talk we gave him. It is amazing. I invite you all to read it!

E’s Baptism!

Hello!

E WAS BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!

IMG_1442

Me and Sister Szilagyi on the ends, E in the middle in white.

After the baptism we were talking with E and we asked her how she felt. In her broken English she was beaming while saying “I’m happy. So good.” This is what it’s about. This is worth all the frustrations, all the slammed doors, all the negatives. The positives, the joy, the love, they all outweigh the negative. It’s all worth it to bring those we love closer to Christ:)

Last Pday we had a farewell fiesta for Elder Christian, who went home today!

Elder Gearheart, Elder Greene, Sister Jeppson, Elder Christian, me; Sister Tevi, Elder Hunsicker, Sister Szilagyi

Elder Gearheart, Elder Greene, Sister Jeppson, Elder Christian, me; Sister Tevi, Elder Hunsicker, Sister Szilagyi

We all made district shirts :)

District meeting #valdostapride (I know. We’ve started hashtagging everything. I blame Sister Tevi :))

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Sister Tevi, Sister Jeppson, Me, Sister Szilagyi, Elder Christian, Elder Hunsicker, Elder Harris, Elder Greene, Elder Gearheart, and Elder Ditty

In the middle of the week I came down with Strep! It was horrible, I was quarantined for two days and wasn’t allowed to go outside and do anything. We got permission for an exchange, so Sister Tevi stayed home with me and her bum knee while Sister Szilagyi went out with Sister Jeppson to our appointments and to ward correlation.

This little munchkin is one of our investigator’s little girls. She’s two years old and is wearing Sister Szilagyi’s coat as a dress. Every time we leave her house she calls out from the door “See you soon! Love you!” She’s adorable :)

IMG_1436In other news, transfers are tomorrow and not only are Sister Szilagyi and I BOTH staying in Valdosta, but so are Sister Tevi and Sister Jeppson! The four pack continues to see another six weeks…

I love you all!
Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

p.s. I loved the [Valentines] packages! They all came when I was stuck inside, so it made the day that much better when the same Fedex guy kept visiting multiple times :) He asked if I was slowly and one part at a time building a time machine. I said yes. Then brought it to the gospel and gave him a mormon.org card and taught him a lesson. Productive while still stuck inside :D It’s great, all the mail and package people know and love us. Over the holidays all the members were giving us sweets, and our counters were literally full of plates of cookies. So we started handing them out to the mail people and our investigators and random people on the street.

Powerhouse week

Hello!
This week was amazing! It has been perfectly warm and sunny, so we were able to walk from appointment to appointment and talk to everyone who was outside. We met an amazing woman who doesn’t speak English very well, but we talked to her using our very limited Spanish, and her broken English. We talked to her about eternal families and set up a time to come back with a translator. We called everyone we knew who spoke Spanish, but no one could come with us, so when we came back for the appointment we brought an English and a Spanish Restoration pamphlet and prayed hard. Miraculously, we were able to understand each other and the Spirit was so strong. She has such a strong faith and testimony in Christ and that he speaks to us today.

On Saturday we started the day out with a baptism! He was one of the first ward’s sisters’ investigators, and we all came to support him at his baptism. He’s a man whose sister was baptized a few weeks ago, and he saw the joy it brought to her life and wanted that in his. In honor of baptism, he wanted to decorate his car [it says “just Baptized!”]. Of course we needed a picture of it as well! :)
IMG_1416After the baptism we headed off to teach a girl we have been working with for a while. She is the niece of one of our members. She only speaks Spanish, so last week we watched the Restoration DVD in Spanish. After the movie, she turned to us, with tears in her eyes and in perfect English, said: ‘That was in my dream. I hoped it was true and now I know that it is.’ It was a super powerful lesson and she promised to pray to know if she should be baptized. When we came back this week, we followed up on her promise, and she smiled and said ‘Yeah, how’s the 15th?’ It took us a minute to realize she didn’t mean next month, she meant THIS month, as in next Saturday! She should be baptized this Saturday, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost in church on her birthday! She is such a miracle and has such a strong testimony and spirit; I love her so much!

Yesterday in church all of the Valdosta missionaries sang a medley the congregation joined us at the end of the song with “The Spirit of God” while we sang “A Marvelous Work.” It was so powerful and the spirit was so strong. At the end, when the congregation had ended and the missionaries were still singing, we sounded so much better and so much louder than we ever have. It was definitely angels singing with us :) It is a beautiful arrangement and is so powerful and moving.

I love you all!
Sister Waddoups
lauren.waddoups@myldsmail.net

Sister Lauren Waddoups
Georgia Macon Mission
400 Northside Crossing
Macon, GA 31210

Oops

[Short letter, posted one week late:]

We received an amazing referral last night; an 801 number called (a Utah area code) and when we identified ourselves as missionaries, the girl on the other end quietly said ‘oh! It worked.’ She told us that she is a convert who lives in Utah and her parents live in our area. She is leaving on her mission and wants her parents to know about the gospel. She started crying and was so nervous about it, she asked if we could keep it anonymous. I love her so much and I talked to her for maybe three minutes. She is so strong. I can’t imagine going on a mission without any of my family supporting or understanding my decision. We’re going to contact them tonight :)

Another miracle we experienced was one of our investigators, N. She has been searching for a church where she can find true happiness, and had previously recognized that in the previous churches they didn’t have any permission from God to act in his name. She recognized the joy we had from the gospel and has asked to continue to learn and develop and has accepted a baptismal date for 1 March. She and her children loved church on Sunday and are excited to come back :)

Sorry this week’s is so short, I promise I’ll write more next week!